Monday, January 2, 2017
2017 - A Clean Slate
Although I don't make New Years resolutions and January 1 is just another day I always feel like the new year is full of possibilities and like a blank chalkboard ready to be filled with adventures. We had a lovely but tiring Christmas and I am ready to get back to our regular life groove. Today is our last day of sleeping in and tomorrow appointments start up again with clients.
I spent the 31st taking down Christmas and cleaning our house then spent yesterday helping Mom take her Christmas down and cleaning her house. She is a pack rat. Her vice is paper...newspapers and magazines. I hauled away approximately 1000 magazines after years of asking her to downsize them/get rid of them. She always feels there is one article there she wants to keep and keeps them in stacked piles in every room in the house. She does use the internet more now so I actually believe that is why she let me take them away, they were overtaking her life. Unfortunately all the recycle centers were closed yesterday and today so they are in the back of the truck until I get rid of them properly. I think she feels better and I certainly feel better.
Our December grocery tally came in at $625.77 which is on budget as we were under in November. Annual grocery spend was $6564.01 on a budget of $6600. I thought I was smack on but apparently I did not count in one month where I was a bit under so a nice error and under the yearly budget. That includes all food, over the counter meds, toiletries and cleaners. It does not include anything to do with the dog as I have a separate category for Buddy in our budget. Our 2017 grocery budget is being lowered to $525 per month or $6300 for the year as other costs such as our healthcare have gone up from $136 a month for two adults to $150 a month. I have become lazy and need to get back to my frugal grocery ways and this lowered grocery budget should achieve that.
In 2016 I kept on grocery budget by a variety of measures: a small amount of coupons - in Canada we rarely get decent coupons for non-convenience items so it was mostly on toiletries that I used coupons. I also used Checkout 51 savings app, PC points and Shoppers Drug Mart Points which helped me get through October, November and December without breaking the bank. Mom and I have a date every $1.49 day at our local Quality foods which happens once a month and I have saved a lot of money this year on that day as many items I regularly buy are at rock bottom prices. In September 2015 I bought 40 lbs of jasmine rice for $26.88. I found the glass storage jars at the thrift store to store it and I still have enough to get me through most of 2017. We eat rice approximately once every 10 days or so - a very cheap staple. I also buy large quantities of flour and just replenished it in December after using the last bag for a year (if stored properly this isn't a problem). We also used our Costco membership for frozen chicken breasts and porkchops. The porkchops are not the cheapest in my town but are the highest quality so in the end work out to be the best deal as include no fat and no bones and I repackage the family pack when I get home into meal size packs. I scour the advertisements for deals every week and stock up on loss leaders.
I have never meal planned, actually hate the idea of it but I have come up with a solution that still allows us freedom of choice. A 2 day meal plan. Yesterday I made tacos, cooked twice as much meat as I needed and the leftover meat/extra meat is going into chili today in the slow cooker. I like to leave the house at least every other day since we work from home (for sanity) so that way if I need an ingredient or run out of something I only have to wait 2 days. Stores are so close to me that I can walk to/very short drive if necessary.
Do you have any tricks for keeping your grocery budget down? Please share if so. Happy New Years everyone!